Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

Either way, it’s just a number

I continue my new found relationship with my calorie counter and my scale.

Yesterday: another 45 minutes of cardio before breakfast and coming in about 800 calories below my allotted daily budget.

This morning, I got up, peed and then stepped on the scale: down .4 pounds.

A traitorous feeling of joy leapt through me.

And then I thought: Wait a minute. If the 1.8 pound weigh gain was not you, then this is not you either. You don’t get to discount the bad and claim the good (though, as a social psychologist, I know that’s how most people hang).

So, I looked down at the number, stepped off the scale and put it into my calorie tracker, to the following notification: You’ll reach your goal of losing 28.2 lbs. on Dec 11, 2012.

One can only hope.

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Data, not an indictment

So yesterday I decided that the game was up.

I was going to re-establish a relationship with my scale (a daily one that requires at least a single moment of one-on-one time) and with my handy dandy calorie counter (LoseIt).

Mainly, I decided to do this to establish a little accountability.

What I didn’t expect to find was compassion.

Calorie counting, day one: without changing a lot about the way I eat, I rang in at right about 1600 calores. The big difference though was that I actually did about 45 minutes of cardio for the first time in weeks (this put me at about 800 calories below my budget for losing a pound a week).

I got up this morning and stepped on the scale.

Up. And not a little up, but a lot up. Up 1.8 pounds to be exact.

Normally I would have been really upset; and ironically I wasn’t as upset as I was yesterday.

Instead, I was amused – if not a little resigned.

Obviously, I did nothing in a 24 hour period that should have caused that big of a weight gain (even if it is just water). So, that was obviously her – my body, doing her own thing.

I didn’t get mad; I didn’t burst into tears.

In fact, I smiled indulgently (if not a little maniacally).

There was something freeing about that unexplained and unexpected weight gain. I simply logged it, noticed the spike, and read the notification. “You gained 1.8 pounds. You’ll reach your goal of losing 28.2 lbs. on Dec 11, 2012.” Though December 11, 2012 may seem like a long time for someone who went from a size 4 to a size 10 in less than three months, what I really thought was: Promise?

I’m curious (if not a little apprehensive what tomorrow will bring) and this way, by facing it instead of merely crying about it and pretending it’s not happening, I’ll know. And I’ll have plenty of data for my endocrinologist for the next time he asks how everything is going.

So Ends the Experiment

For years I have been listening to people talk about intuitive eating and the dangers of calorie counting.

I’ve tried it before and I’ve just finished trying it, again. Both times were an abysmal failure.

I just had to step on a scale for the first time in a year (because of some not routine medical tests) and for the first time in nearly five [years] I am once again, overweight. I am now bigger than I was before all of this started. I am now bigger than the first time when I met my husband – the time that I told him that I was really going to transform my body before I hit 40.

I was 36. I am now 42.

The experiment failed.

I’m not saying that intuitive eating doesn’t work – but it doesn’t work for me.

Maybe it’s the stress. Maybe it’s the whacked out thyroid. Maybe it’s the overactive immune system. Maybe I was just fooling myself when I thought that I knew what my body wanted, when it was hungry, etc. Who knows?

Regardless, I do know one thing – I’m allowing it to affect every aspect of my life, from my work to my relationships. All of the cognitive therapy that I’ve been doing so that I can love my body from the inside out? Well, despite the immense talent of my coach, it folds in the face of the illuminated number on a silver scale. It folds in the face of the double digit clothing that I can barely fit into. It folds every time that someone touches any part of my body that roils underneath the slightest bit of pressure.

So, intuitive or not, it’s time for a little accountability.

If I can’t be truly in touch with my body then I at least need to know what’s going on so that I am not just sitting around weighting (every pun, intended. Do you believe that that was actually a Freudian slip? It was – really) to find the right combination of seaweed, protein, whole grains that just so happen to be gluten-free, etc., that is going to unlock all of the nutritional and weight loss secrets of the universe.

In other words, I am going to revert back to calories in/calories out.

Now, I can hear the groan from my friends – at least a thousand of whom are graduates from one of the best schools of integrative nutrition in the country. But I know that all calories are not equal, so you don’t have to worry that I think that a 800+ calorie bomb from McDonald’s will have the same nutritional value as 2 of my green smoothies (even without all of the cruciferous vegetables that contain goitrogens that suppress thyroid function). But at least this way I will know – that I’ll know that it’s not something that I’m just fooling myself about. I remember the autumn that I gained 10 pounds eating “healthy cookies….” Could it be?

Because if it really is me – then maybe I can learn to do something else. But if it isn’t me (and it really is her, my body who is suffering under the unmitigated stress of my life) then, maybe, I can learn to forgive myself and my body and allow myself to connect not only with her – but also emotionally, mentally, and physically with those other people in my life who really don’t seem to mind if I weigh 140 or 170 pounds.

Seriously, as I even write the number, tears come to my eyes and the thought, unbidden, how could this have happened to me? How did I let it happen?

The Last Meal: Changing the Diet Up Yet Again

If I had a dollar for every time that I’ve radically changed the way I eat….

It’s been a rough few months on the body-love front. I have no idea what I weigh, but very few things in my closet actually fit.

A couple of things are going on:

My thyroid crashed (again).

I’m not doing the things I need to do to take care of myself (meaning less yoga, less hooping).

I’m not getting enough sleep.

I’m not getting enough exercise (see above).

And I’m not loving myself in any way shape or form – sorry coach!

The one thing that I was doing, however, was eating cleanly. In fact, it’s not a exaggeration to say that this is the cleanest that I’ve eaten, ever. I had hoped that would be enough.

Yet I keep getting bigger and bigger and more recently PMS is now pre-, present-, and post-. Bloating, mood swings, and boobs from hell. Two days ago, the cloth of my blouse was nearly unbearable; the poor things hurt to the touch – which also cuts down on any desire intimacy or closeness of any form.

I had a call with a holistic health care person and he mentioned something about food and thyroid suppression and, more importantly, the foods that suppress the thyroid – the number one culprits being sweet potatoes (yams), brussel sprouts, raw spinach, raw kale, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. You might not know this, but 90% of everything that I eat (other than hemp and other forms of protein powders) is comprised of yams, brussel sprouts, raw spinach, raw kale, turnips, cauliflower, and broccoli.

You know, it never ceases to amaze me how the body becomes addicted to the very things that are bad for it.

Last night, I had my last meal: brussels, broccoli, carrot and cauliflower soup, and a little mini-green smoothie with spinach and kale. Before I began, I just looked at it, letting the anticipation build. Then I enjoyed every single solitary bite. I swear, you would have thought I was eating cheesecake! I even lit candles.

Somehow this latest dietary transition seems more difficult than previous ones, and I’m not sure why. There are obviously straightforward substitutions. Collards or chard for kale, green beans for broccoli, asparagus for brussel sprouts, and romaine and red leaf lettuce for spinach. And I’m sure that I can find a nice butternut squash soup recipe to replace my carrot and cauliflower, but it’s not going to be the same.

I keep reminding myself, food is food. It’s not for pleasure. It doesn’t matter that you’re being asked to give up your favorite foods, yet again. Because, when I think about it, this last batch of favorites became favorites when the last batch went away.

So what can you eat when you want to help nourish your thyroid? Well, the list is short and there’s nothing on it that’s particularly appealing. But appealing or not, it’s what I’ve got and I’m sure that however unappealing it may seem, I will learn to love again.

Because, to paraphrase Tony Robbins, nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels.

Stay tuned for thyroid nourishing recipes (sans sweet potatoes (yams), brussel sprouts, raw spinach, raw kale, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, etc). Wish me luck!